Liminal is playing at the King’s Head theatre in Islington and what an original piece it is. The play brakes down many theatrical barriers as we observe the operatic character in performance as well as in repose.
At times it feels like a laboratory as we watch the rambling thoughts and actions of a singer in down time. Certainly it could be a work in progress as, with its jelly-like shape, it throws up many moments you feel could be extended or explored further. The rendition of operatic aria is technically assured, delivered with aplomb by the talented Dan D’Souza and then in contrast comes the time in the dressing room break, away from audience and performances, where the mundane detail of everyday life happens.
Theatrical parameters are broken as the audience is invaded, chatted to, involved with accompanists encouraged and directed to handle props and it all makes for quite a fascinating and original experience as we watch the real character reveal themselves – and guess what? – they may be masterful opera singers but when they take time out they are just like you and me.
D’Souza has a voice that warms us, an intonation and phrasing that embellishes the lyric delightfully and a tone that is dramatically rounded and delightful to listen to – Le Gateau Chocolat must feel very pleased with themselves to get this young accomplished singer on board.
The reach of their raptures is impressive as ideas are challenged along with theatrical convention; a range of gender neutral pronouns are used, music choices are given space, as yoga is tackled and instruments are tampered with. Co-Writer and narrator, Tommy Bradson must be celebrated here, particularly when our man tunes into the radio as it leads to all sorts of comic moments, from extraneous weather reports to LGBTQ messages – in general the voice over from the radio was delivered with a vocal style that amused and disrupted in equal measures – witty stuff. As was the Michael Honest section a whacky madcap deviation. And throughout all this examination of private and public moments there seemed to be messages in the word play, of eating your words with a trifle called joy, all included in the 5 a day, listen acceptance, patience and small kindness and all these qualities permeate this unusual and at times inspired performance.
Credit to Le Gateau Chocolat for pushing at the boundaries of convention.
It runs at the King’s Head from Weds, 29th September to & Sat, 23rd October
Time: 7.00pm (Tues – Sun) / 8.45pm (30th Sept & 1st Oct) (Sat & Sun Matinees – 3.00pm)
Box Office: 0207 226 8561